One of the most popular blog posts I have written is called “I Don’t Want To Be Part of Your Fucking Ecosystem”. In it, I rant against service providers trying to lock their customers into a monoculture.
Panasonic, it seems, are quite happy to ignore customer demand. Once they have your money, they cease to care.
Amazon could use open standards, develop apps which work on the majority of available platforms, and gather millions of customers who actually want their service.
Instead, they’ve gone with the rent-seeking approach of strong-arming their customers into paying more for a service they cannot use and do not want.
Evolving consumer expectations is an interesting point. I think that, to a point, consumers *ARE* owed something by the companies they purchase from, and that point is defined by how free consumers actually are “free to go elsewhere”. Examples:
1) buy a new car -> replacement parts and maintenance supplies for that car should be available for at least 6-10 years because basically no consumer can machine their own
2) buy an operating system -> bug fixes should occur for at least 6-18 months and security patches should occur for at least 2-3 years because basically no consumer can reprogram an operating system (and altering a closed-source OS is illegal)
Similarly, consumers are morally, if not legally, entitled to information as to how a company runs as far as that information is directly relevant to their potential purchase. For example, what if Microsoft liquidated its current inventory of X-Box Ones at half price and then, without warning, terminated all support for the console including discontinuing new game development and operation of the XBox Live online service. Sure that might be legal, but consumers *DID* have a right to know that what they were buying was only a couple months away from being a paperweight.
In America, there are generally 3-5 internet “options”: cable, DSL, cellular (limited and expensive), satellite (limited and expensive), and dial-up (impossibly slow)– there is no competition in cable providers and DSL competition is rare. There are 3 bulk television options: DirectTV, Dish Network, and cable. There are 4 wireless cellular networks: Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint. There are 2 high-end smartphone operating systems: iOS and Android (3-4 if you want to count Windows Phone or FirefoxOS). We are not really free to “go elsewhere” for a lot of modern technology because patents, monopolies, oligopolies, and ecosystems are being used to control us by limiting our effective choices. This is not to say that this is harmful to the point that it should be illegal, only to say that it is understandable that consumers may have expectations of customer service and product development for their new technology purchases which are above and beyond those their parents had of a new household appliance 30 years ago.
Control may be a good way to squeeze more revenues out of consumers, but as a society we have known for over a century that corporate control is not in the best interests of consumers or of society. As consumers, we can also be the watchdogs for activity which is objectionable enough that we demand our legislatures make it illegal.